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Giving children antibiotics increases their risk of diabetes especially for boys

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[h=1]Giving children antibiotics increases their risk of diabetes - with boys 'particularly vulnerable'[/h]
  • Young mice given antibiotics twice as likely to develop type 1 diabetes
  • Condition may develop in kids if good gut bugs are killed by antibiotics
  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system turns on the body
  • Experts believe certain bacteria teach the immune system not to attack
By Fiona Macrae Science Editor For The Daily Mail
Published: 15:00 GMT, 22 August 2016

Giving babies and toddlers antibiotics may dramatically increase their odds of becoming diabetic, doctors fear.

The warning follows a ‘compelling’ study which linked the commonly-prescribed drug with type 1 diabetes, the form that usually develops in childhood.
With antibiotics prescription rates rising, scientists decided to see if the drugs were helping to fuel the increase in type 1 diabetes.
Researchers from New York University compared the health of mice given several ‘courses’ of antibiotics when young with creatures not given any drugs.
Those given three antibiotic treatments by the age of six weeks – roughly two and a half years old in human terms – were twice as likely to develop diabetes as those not given antibiotics.Males may be particularly vulnerable, the journal Nature Microbiology reports.
Importantly, the doses of drugs used mimicked those frequently given to children.
Plus, the mice studied were genetically prone to developing type 1 diabetes – to mirror the effect of a child coming from a family with a history of the condition.
Some 400,000 Britons, including almost 30,000 children, have the condition and it is becoming more and more common.
The rise is particularly sharp among very young children, with number of under-fives with type 1 diabetes going up five-fold in the past 20 years.The condition is known to run in families but causes are largely a mystery.
Learning more about what triggers it could lead to new ways of treating and preventing the condition.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system turns on the body, attacking the cells in the pancreas that are needed to turn sugar into energy.
The US researchers believe certain gut bugs teach the immune system not to mount such an attack.
If these friendly bacteria are missing early in life – because they are killed off by antibiotics – the disease may develop.

Backing up this theory, further experiments showed the bugs lurking the gut of the mice given the antibiotics were ‘profoundly’ to those in the creatures not given the drugs.
Finally, when the researchers took some bugs from the antibiotic-treated mice and gave them to germ-free mice, their immune systems changed.
Jessica Dunne, of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which funded the work, said: ‘The study result is compelling, linking the effects of antibiotics in mice to type 1 diabetes.
‘We’re eager to see how these findings may impact the discovery of type 1 diabetes preventative treatments in future and research in the area of vaccines.’

Researcher Martin Blaser, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, said if certain bugs are found to be particularly good at training the immune system to develop normally, children at risk of type 1 diabetes could eventually be given them as a probiotic treatment.
Similarly, if other bugs direct the immune system to attack the pancreas, it may be possible to vaccinate children against them and stop them from becoming diabetic.
Dr Blaser stressed parents should still give their children antibiotics, as advised by their GP.
The JDRF said it was excited by the study’s potential but more work is needed to see how relevant the results are to people.
While it may seem odd to link a serious health condition to antibiotic use, asthma, obesity and digestive problems have all been associated with the drugs.
Concern is mounting that the drugs are being over-prescribed, with time-pressed GPs dishing them to placate patients, including pushy parents.
Experts estimate the average child in the UK has taken ten courses of antibiotics by the age of 16 – more than one every two years.

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